Moss Point native Devin Booker named NBA All-Star for the first time

Devin Booker named NBA All-Star for the first time

PHOENIX, Ariz. (PRESS RELEASE) - The NBA announced Thursday Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard on Team LeBron in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Booker’s first career All-Star selection. TNT and ESPN Radio will air the game live at 6 p.m. (Phoenix time).

The 24th different player in Suns history to be named an All-Star, Booker’s selection is the 63rd all-time for the Suns and first since Steve Nash in 2012.

Booker will also replace Lillard in the 3-Point Contest as part of All-Star Saturday Night, live on TNT and ESPN Radio at 6 p.m. on Feb. 15. The 2018 3-Point Contest Champion, this will be Booker’s fourth time participating in the event.

The fourth-youngest player in NBA history to score 7,000 career points after reaching the milestone on Jan. 28, Booker is averaging 26.4 points (10th in NBA) and 6.3 assists (19th) while shooting career bests of 49.6% from the field (30th) and 92.0% from the free throw line (2nd) in this his fifth season. He is the only player to rank in the top 30 on the NBA leaderboard in points and assists per game plus field goal and free throw percentage as he is scoring efficiently and creating for his teammates at a level rarely seen in NBA history; Booker is currently just the eighth player ever to average at least 25 points and six assists while shooting over 49% from the field for a season, joining basketball legends LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson, Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade and Jerry West.

Booker will play in the 69th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 16 at the United Center in Chicago. TNT and ESPN Radio will air the game live at 6 p.m. The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will feature Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis as captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo selected the All-Star Game rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference. As part of the new format for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, the two teams will compete to win each quarter for their designated charities, Chicago Scholars for Team LeBron and After School Matter for Team Giannis. The fourth quarter will be untimed and the teams will play to a Final Target Score (the leading team’s cumulative point total through three quarters plus 24), meaning that the game will end with a made basket instead of with the clock running out.

Booker and all members of Team LeBron will wear the No. 2 in the All-Star Game to pay tribute to the late Gianna Bryant while Team Giannis will wear the No. 24 of the late Kobe Bryant. Both teams will wear jersey patches displaying nine stars, representing Kobe, Gianna and their seven friends and teammates who tragically passed away in a helicopter accident on Jan. 26.

Winner of the 2018 3-Point Contest, this will be Booker’s fourth time competing in the event and fifth time competing at All-Star Saturday Night. Last year in Charlotte, he scored 23 points in the opening round of the 3-Point Contest but did not advance. In 2018 in Los Angeles, Booker set an event-record 28 points by making 20-of-30 shot attempts in the final round to take home the trophy. In 2016 in Toronto, he advanced to the final round against Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry as a 19-year-old rookie, the youngest competitor in 3-Point Contest history. Booker also participated at All-Star Saturday Night in New Orleans in 2017, competing in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

Booker (2016, 2018, 2019, 2020) is the only Suns player to make as many as three career appearances in the 34-year history of the 3-Point Contest on All-Star Saturday Night. Booker in 2018 and Quentin Richardson in 2005 are the only Suns players to win the event. Suns General Manager James Jones won the 3-Point Contest as a member of the Miami Heat in 2011.

The 2020 3-Point Contest features a new look with the addition of two shots in the “MTN DEW Zone” – two locations positioned equidistant between the traditional racks at the top of the 3-point arc and the adjacent “wing” rack. Each of the two ball pedestals in the MTN DEW Zone is located six feet behind the 3-point line and holds one special green ball worth three points. In addition to the two new shots, the 3-Point Contest will continue to have five main shooting locations – four racks containing four official NBA game balls (each worth one point) and one multicolored “money” ball (worth two points) as well as one “all money ball” rack. With the addition of the MTN DEW Zone, the number of balls in a round has increased to 27 from 25, the amount of time in a round has expanded to 70 seconds (1:10) from 60 seconds (1:00) and the maximum possible score in a round has risen to 40 points from 34 points. The three competitors with the highest scores in the first round advance to the championship round.